Deadline Approaching: CFP for Teaching and Popular Culture


Deadline is June 1st!

It's that time of year where the Northeast Popular Culture Association (NEPCA for short) is putting out its annual call for proposals for the regional conference at Worcester State University Worcester, Massachusetts, the weekend of October 19-20, 2018.  

As some of you know, I am the Area Chair for Teach and Popular Culture.  Here is a working definition of what that area entails:

This area focuses how to teach popular culture, which may include sharing unique approaches to:
  • Teaching courses focused specifically on “popular culture”
  • Teaching courses on an area within popular culture (e.g. courses that focus on the content and cultural aspects–not necessarily the “how-to” aspects of comics, video games, horror, Harry Potter, baseball, The Beatles, etc).
  • Teaching mainstream courses using popular culture (e.g. baseball statistics for explaining, statistics, Buffy the Vampire Slayer for explaining political theory, Star Trek for exploring biology).

This particular area is focused more on sharing successful and interesting teaching practices for other scholars and educators to learn or borrow from


An old school classroom and chalkboard with the conference info on it.

Hopefully, this description clarifies that I tend to look at the Teaching Popular Culture area as a bit different than the other areas which are research focused.  I see this area more along the lines of providing some professional development, feedback, and reflection around how we employ popular culture in the classroom.  I feel like this is an often under-attended element of popular culture studies: how we meaningfully engage with it with our students.  

In the last few years, this area has picked up a lot more participants both presenting and in attendance as all of us are interested in applying our scholarship and research of popular culture into learning opportunities for our students.  

Therefore, I'm quite interested in hearing from people and encourage anyone who may teach a popular culture focused course or use popular culture in interesting and useful ways to put in a proposal.  Here are a few of the formats that I'm interested in seeing and/or participating in.  If you have questions or thoughts about these, please don't hesitate to contact me:  lance.eaton@gmail.com

The following are some ideas about how you might think about proposals.  

Round-Table of Popular Culture and Teaching

Those who teach a popular-culture-focused course (specifically about popular culture or thematically structured around popular culture) can discuss some of the challenges, benefits, and experiences in teaching such a course.  I imagine this format entailing a list of questions that the participants can go through followed up with questions by attendees.  I would also think we could capture the comments and produce some kind of interesting resource for the NEPCA website.  

Panel on Teaching

If you and other faculty teach a similar topic, area of popular culture, or have different strategies and approaches that you want to illustrate, a proposed full panel about teaching on popular culture is of great interest.  

Panel on Teaching Popular Culture Online

I'll throw my hat into the ring with this one.  I'm really interested in working with and presenting with other faculty who have or regularly teach popular culture (or focus in some ways on popular culture) in an online environment.  I think there is a lot to discuss and explore with regards to this topic and would encourage anyone else in this vein to reach out to me.  

Individual Presentations on Strategies, Approaches, Resources

Honestly, if you've got something related to teaching and popular culture, please submit a proposal.  Every year that I've done this, we get some really fantastic presentations on a range of great topics relating to teaching and popular culture.  If you're stuck on the fence or need someone to brainstorm and flesh out your proposal a bit more, feel free to reach out to me and we'll see what we can come up with.   

Some of our previous presentations have included titles such as:
  • Compare and Contrast in Sakai Lessons
  • Teaching Hip-Hop: Boosting Student Agency
  • Wanna Play? Creative Strategies for Teaching Pop Culture
  • Teaching Sociology through TV: An Update
  • Gonzo Identity
  • Teaching Professional Ethics through Superhero Comic Books 
  • Course Design in the Age of Trump 
  • "Heroes and Superheroes: Pop Lit and Writing Studies
  • Challenges of Media Representation in the Media Classroom

So if you are interested, please check out the conference page before going and filling out the proposal form.  If you're interested in putting in a proposal that isn't Teaching and Popular Culture, then check out the other areas to determine which is the right area to submit.  

The full call for all areas, can be found below:

The Northeast Popular/American Culture Association (NEPCA) announces its first call for paper proposals for its annual conference. The 2018 conference will be held on the campus of the at Worcester State University Worcester, Massachusetts, the weekend of October 19-20, 2018.    

NEPCA is soliciting proposals dealing with all aspects of popular culture and American culture, broadly construed. NEPCA welcomes both individual papers and complete panels. We also encourage works in progress, and informal presentations. The only restrictions on presentations are that:


  • The proposal should be rooted in research. We do not automatically exclude original poetry, composed works of fiction, or musical/dance/storytelling performance, but such works must be connected to greater theoretical and research frameworks.
  • NEPCA generally avoids proposals whose intent is overtly commercial.
  • Proposals should appeal to a broad audience.


NEPCA conferences welcome graduate students, junior faculty, independent researchers, and senior faculty as equals. NEPCA prides itself on offering intimate and nurturing sessions in which new ideas and works-in-progress can be aired, as well as completed projects. NEPCA is dedicated to expanding intellectual horizons, open engagement, and constructive criticism. 

Papers are generally 15-20 minutes in length. NEPCA discourages (but does not forbid) verbatim reading of papers and strongly encourages creative delivery of papers. 

The deadline for applications is June 1, 2018. The Program Chair for 2018 is Russ Pottle but, for tracking and logistical purposes, proposals must be submitted to an online Google Form that can be found on NEPCA's Website.  This page also includes a link to area chairs who can assist with any questions you have about your proposal. 




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